Thursday, October 29, 2009

House-Hunting in Wales: conclusions

We looked at a variety of properties centred around Rhayader, Builth Wells, Brecon and Llandovery. We saw village new-build properties, mountain cottages accessible only after steep climbs on single-track roads and houses next to rivers or down muddy, tree-shrouded tracks.

We found nothing we remotely liked.

Broadly speaking most of the traditional properties are thirty to forty years old, smaller and darker than we wanted and generally in need of a complete modernising makeover.

The new properties were invariably clumped in little developments offset from existing villages, or were an insert into a gap.

The estate agents all tried to talk the market up but in our view the properties were grotesquely over-priced. One estate agent told us that the local attitude to selling was completed 'relaxed': "they're prepared to wait maybe three or four years around here. Their attitude is that when we get a buyer we'll move - till then they're perfectly happy to stay put."

No wonder they're not very price-sensitive.

Ignoring the market towns which didn't interest us at all, the housing stock is either in villages - fairly tightly clumped, or on the sides of the hills with small gardens. There are houses with land but this is usually for farming purposes.

So in the end we found nothing really which worked for us at any price in central Wales. Perhaps we'll have more luck in the south-west of England.